Touted as a top-tier catching prospect leading up to the 2020 Major League Baseball draft, Turlock High grad Tyler Soderstrom lived up to expectations on Thursday when he was selected 26th overall by the Oakland A’s.
A recent 2020 Turlock High graduate, Soderstrom joins a long list of former Bulldogs turned MLB players. More importantly, however, he now stands alongside his father Steve Soderstrom — drafted sixth overall by the Giants in 1993 out of Fresno State— as first-round MLB selections.
“He has been around baseball his whole life and has been competing at a high level ever since he was a little boy, something his dad and older brother Tate have a lot to do with,” Turlock baseball head coach Sean Gilbert said. “Tyler’s unique mix of size, speed, power and work ethic is what makes him one of the best high school baseball players in the country. It’s exciting for us to see his hard work and lifelong dream of becoming a professional baseball player come true.”
A four-year varsity starter at Turlock High, the 6-foot-2 Soderstrom broke out with a stellar junior season that saw him bat a .450 with four home runs, 27 RBIs and an on-base percentage of .565 as the Bulldogs claimed the Central California Athletic League Championship. The effort, along with impressive performances at showcase events throughout 2019, led to Soderstrom signing a letter of intent to play for UCLA while also putting him on the radar of MLB scouts.
“He’s the best amateur bat I’ve seen in my 15-year career…He’s got a chance to be very, very good. He’s a really special player,” Oakland A’s scout for Northern California Kevin Mello told the San Francisco Chronicle.
Though his senior season was cut short due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Soderstrom’s .357 batting average over five games was enough to earn him the title of Gatorade California Baseball Player of the Year.
“Tyler is the kind of player that comes around once in a coach’s lifetime. His personality and leadership have left a lasting impression on everyone in our program,” Gilbert said.
Soderstrom was unavailable for comment following his fist-round selection, but he did send out a tweet soon after the announcement.
“Big thank you to the Oakland A’s organization for giving me this opportunity! Pumped to be an A! Let’s get to work Oakland!” Soderstrom tweeted after he was drafted.